The language of Celebrity Gossip
The language of celebrity gossip is very clever in that it enables journalists in the field to make claims without being the ones that officially be doing so. This enables them to create content that is based on very little evidence, if any evidence, and to subsequently make money doing so. In this article the language of Celebrity Gossip journalists will be explored and discussed.
Take for example this excerpt from showbizspy (1):
“ANGELINA Jolie has infuriated partner Brad Pitt – after she rekindled her romance with her former lesbian lover Jenny Shimizu, it has been claimed.”
Notice the very clever use of ‘it has been claimed’ at the end of that sentence. The end result of this is that if you refute the truth of this statement the author is not accountable because the only truth they are reporting is that it was claimed that Angelina Jolie infuriated Brad Pitt after rekindling a relationship. Afterall, it can be true that it was claimed, but the claim can be completely baseless. This is the sort of clever logic and language games that Celebrity Gossip journalists employ.
Another example is the following excerpt taken from TMZ concerning Whitney Houston (2):
“According to reports, Whitney’s will doesn’t enumerate specific assets”
This quote shows another clever use of words, specifically the phrase ‘According to reports’. What reports? Who created said reports? We are meant to assume that these reports are valid, but in actually it could have come from someone with absolutely no connection whatsoever to Whitney Houston. In fact, it could just have been made up by the author. This is what makes celebrity gossip so easy as the author can claim almost anything provided they are not ‘the’ source that came up with it.
What We Have Learned
As long as you make it clear that a statement is claimed by a source other than you, you can basically claim anything you like. So with this in mind I have created some of my own gossip:
“Angelina Jolie is pregnant with triplets after having cheated on Brad Pitt with Quentin Tarantino; it has been claimed by an anonymous source. According to reports, Tarantino and Jolie were seen together while filming an upcoming movie”
In this way it is possible to create gossip while not actually being the one to claim the information is true. It is an interesting sleight of hand, but somewhat worrying that this is all that is really required of journalists.
1. http://www.showbizspy.com/article/194780/angelina-jolie-back-with-lesbian-lover.html 2. http://www.tmz.com/2012/03/07/whitney-houston-will-bobbi-kristina/